Last night the wife and I went to see zodiac. We had some time to kill before the show started so we went over to a restaurant right across from the theater. Sat down at the bar and ordered a couple drinks. I ordered a Makers Mark Old Fashioned. Well, first I asked the bar tender if she knew how to make an Old Fashioned. With confidence she assured me she did. Cool. Then I asked her what bourbons they had. She started naming off every Canadian and American blended whiskey they stock. Oh boy. Anyhow, I watched her make the drink. She put an orange wedge and two cherries in the bottom of an Old fashioned glass added a packet of sugar and muddled the fruit, added ice then the Makers then a splash of dry vermouth. No bitters. Is this a generally accepted non-traditional recipe? It was drinkable, tasty even. But not what I expected. As a side note I have noticed some bars/ bartenders will omit the bitters from a Manhattan. I can drink 'em either way but I prefer a 'drop or two'.
It seems to me that the Old Fashioned is almost as variable as the martini. There are multiple schools of thought as to whether or not the fruit should be muddled, but there should be bitters rather than vermouth. CocktailDB has 16 different Old Fashioned variations, though.Anyhow, I watched her make the drink. She put an orange wedge and two cherries in the bottom of an Old fashioned glass added a packet of sugar and muddled the fruit, added ice then the Makers then a splash of dry vermouth. No bitters. Is this a generally accepted non-traditional recipe? It was drinkable, tasty even. But not what I expected. As a side note I have noticed some bars/ bartenders will omit the bitters from a Manhattan. I can drink 'em either way but I prefer a 'drop or two'.
As for Manhattans - it's better with bitters. Of course, different bitters have different flavors. I've found that orange bitters aren't the best in a Manhattan (but are wonderful in a martini). For Manhattans, I'll go with Fee's Old Fashioned, Angostura, or Peychaud's.
Oh no! You have walked into the slavering fangs of a lurking grue!
I've been making Old-Fashioneds quite a bit lately, and I tend to avoid muddling fruit in the bottom of the glass. However, a healthy strip of orange peel muddled with the bitters and sugar (try some demerara or turbinado, BTW: the unrefined taste really picks up the cocktail) is very good, adding orange character without any excess sweetness or dilution of the whiskey. Usually, a piece of orange peel the width of my thumbnail and twice as long will do. I usually use a mix of Angostura and Regan's orange bitters.
Last night, I mixed it up a bit, though.
I muddled a bit of orange peel with three healthy dashes of Angostura bitters. I added a teaspoon or so of homemade turbinado syrup. Nosed the glass. Another dash of Angostura. Then, I added two drops of orange flower water. The aroma was oustanding. Next, I added 2 oz. of a vatted wheater (VSOF and 90-proof Rebel Yell). Stirred well, added three large ice cubes. Then I took a piece of lemon peel, rubbed the rim of the glass with it, squeezed it over the drink, and dropped it in.
The aroma was floral, spicy-sweet and fruity. The flavor was unmatched by any cocktail I've ever made. I think if I made this again with rye or a high-rye bourbon, I'd use less bitters due to the spicier whiskey. The combination of lemon and orange was very nice, and the clove note in the bitters came through loud and clear. The orange flower water lifted the aroma to new heights, and enhanced the flavor without adding sweetness. I need to find a few more cocktails to use it in.
My experimentation with this drink will continue, but not before I make a few more exactly as above.
Inspired by your post T- Boner, I made a doctored -up Old Fashioned tonight. I used 1/4 teaspoon sugar, 1/4 teaspoon water, 4 drops Angostura bitters, 1/4 teaspoon Triple Sec, one cherry and one (thin) orange slice and 2 oz. BT. The result was tasty but, I'll have to make another at a later date. We have been working on a feed mill plant- shutdown since Wednesday, replacing a chain drag/ hoppers etc. I have bean meal, fish meal, corn dust and God only knows what else stuffing up my nose. Sinus problems. It really messes up the enjoyment of my favorite libation.
I know what you mean about the sinus problems. Just ruins tasting things. I like the recipe you posted, though. Did you muddle the fruit or just garnish with it?
I have had only one Old Fashion and that was at Maker's Mark Lounge in Louisville.
They do use bitters, but no vermouth.
Also a whole sugar cube and a splash of club soda.
oh yeah, bourbon, muddled orange slice, a cherry and ice.
God gave me wisdom but the Devil gave me style
I've successfully used a short cut for those who are too impatient to muddle sugar, water and bitters. I put the sugar, bitters, water in the bottom of the glass and microwave for 10 seconds. It brings out the aromatic nature of the bitters and perfectly dissolves the sugar.
Not sure this is legit for an "old fashioned" so I might have to rename it with a more modern moniker.
I don't muddle my fruit for my cocktail but do for The Patty's. She prefers a sweeter version, whereas I prefer the taste of whisky.
Bourbonian of the Year 2006
Comissioned by Paul Patton, 1999
"It ain't the booze that brings me in here, it's the solace it distills"